Lee Bo-mi
Lee Bo-mi

Coronavirus has created a ‘dire situation’ for caddies

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen Time of article published May 15, 2020

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More than a third of South Africa’s golf courses will not survive another month of not being open, while up to 18 000 caddies and casual workers in the industry are affected by the current lockdown.

“It’s a dire situation,” according to the chairman of the Club Management Association of SA (CMASA), Chris van der Merwe. The worldwide spread of Covid-19 has brought sport across the globe to a halt, including golf, which has hit the big informal work sector of the industry hard.

“The caddies and casual workers attached to golf clubs have been badly affected,” said Van der Merwe.

“Nearly 20 000 employees have been affected and this does not include the out-sourced businesses, who deal with things like catering and course management.

“We mustn’t forget that when it comes to golf and caddies, it’s a matter of no play, no pay.”

There are estimated to be between 12 000 and 18 000 golf caddies working at just over 450 clubs in SA. According to Van der Merwe, a survey conducted in April in which 190 golf clubs (of the 450) participated, 3 700 caddies had basically lost all their income.

But it is not only the bag-carriers and casual workers at golf courses who have felt the pinch, but the clubs, too. In an already challenging environment where every cent matters, Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown and halting of all sport, has left several golf clubs on the brink of bankruptcy.

Asked by the CMASA in their survey, “How long will your club survive under level four and five lockdown” the responses by the 190 clubs were as follows: 11% said they would survive until the end of the month

25% said they wouldd go for one more month (end June)

41% said they would make it for three months

15% said they would survive for six months

8% said they would be able to go longer than six months

“What this tells us is that just over a third of the clubs surveyed by us are in real strife,” said Van der Merwe.

There does, however, seem to be some light at the end of a very dark tunnel. And, some money has, in fact, already been raised to pay some of the caddies and casual workers.

@jacq_west 

The Star

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